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Home arrow News arrow Big Air on Elk to make triumphant comeback during Spring Break
Big Air on Elk to make triumphant comeback during Spring Break Print
Written by Mark Reaman   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010
Look for flying skiers at Third and Elk
In what is hoped to be a warmer event with more daylight than in past years, Big Air on Elk will take place in mid-March this year. Gabe Martin of the Colorado FreeSkier is organizing the spectacle that has been on hiatus for a few years. Big Air will take place at Third Street and Elk Avenue on March 13 and Martin hopes it will be a huge attraction for the Spring Break crowd.


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“I’ve had a great response overall about the idea from businesses, but a few have asked why we should have it during Spring Break when it is already busy,” Martin told the Crested Butte council Tuesday, February 16. “We think this event fits in with that crowd more than the Alley Loop crowd which is when the Big Air used to be held. We hope this will stay in people’s minds and bring them back.”
The event will feature skiers and boarders being towed by high-speed snowmobiles from Second Street to Third Street along the heart of Elk Avenue. They will then hit a jump that launches them to a landing zone in front of the Company Store. Judges will score the competitors on air and tricks.
Martin pointed out that March is warmer and the days longer than in February when the event was last held. He said Elk Avenue would have to be closed Friday night to start preparing the jump. It would be cleared after the event on Saturday so the thoroughfare would be closed about 50 hours.
“The jumping would take place between 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Saturday,” he said. “Safety has always been a big issue and there have been some injuries so we want to limit the people that jump to people we invite. We want them to have some experience.”
Martin said the jump would be shaped differently than in the past. It will be shorter and have a different incline but still provide plenty of thrill for the skiers and boarders jumping. It will also be placed further away from Third Street. Spectators will be pushed back a bit more from the jump and hay bales will be brought in to provide for safety. Ambulances will be on site and the Mountain Express busses will be detoured.
“Hopefully this event will bring people downtown and they will shop and eat and drink on Elk Avenue as a result of this event,” he said.
Crested Butte Chief Marshal Tom Martin said he has been working with Gabe Martin and he has organized a professional event.
“He is very open to suggestions and it’s been a pleasure. But we still have some safety concerns.”
Members of the public at the council meeting spoke in favor of the event. “I support this event whole heartedly,” said Teocalli Tamale owner Davin Sjoberg. “I think the timing of holding this on Spring Break will help build it. We want busy weeks and more of them. And I think Elk Avenue is the only place to hold it.”
Steve Hamilton of the Crested Butte Ski Club said some of the money raised from the event was going toward the club’s scholarship fund. “We appreciate that and are very much in support of the Big Air event.”
Purple Mountain Bed and Breakfast owner Chris Haver said such events are great for Crested Butte.” I had guests in the lodge today and they said the skiing on the mountain was okay but they loved the vibe of the town. They were loving Mardi Gras. Holding these types of events are great and I encourage the town to do more.”
Corey Tibjlas, who is helping organize the event, said he’d looked at sales tax revenue reports and found that when the event was held in February of 2004, 2005 and 2006, sales tax spiked. “These events flood the restaurants, shops and bars,” he said.
Gabe Martin said the future of the event could be big. “Eventually we think it can grow and maybe it can be held in a bit of a shoulder season to draw people to town. But right now we think this will get people talking about Crested Butte. I think we have it pretty much dialed.”
The council agreed and unanimously approved the special event permit for Big Air on Elk March 13.



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